PERFORMANCE: Oxford University Hospitals Trust has stopped gall bladder surgery at its Horton General Hospital after a Royal College of Surgeons review found higher than expected complication rates.

The review was commissioned by the trust after local GPs raised concerns about complications for emergency gall bladder surgery performed by the hospital’s general surgery team.

The college found that the serious complication rate at the Horton was 3.35 per cent, against an expected 2 per cent. The rate of serious complications for emergencies was 16 per cent, or 5 out of 31 cases between January 2010 and September 2011.

Trust medical director Edward Baker said: “This review is not into emergency surgery more generally, just one aspect of it – acute gall bladder disease.

“We commissioned a review because concerns had been raised and an internal audit found that there did seem to be a higher complication rate than expected for emergency operations for gall bladder disease at the Horton.”

The trust has published a redacted version of the report.

Professor Baker said: “Because of the level of public interest in services at the Horton, and in the interests of transparency, we are publishing the report with necessary redactions to protect patient and staff confidentiality.”

The RCS report recommended that the trust only undertake emergency gall bladder surgery at its larger John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, and that the number of surgeons dealing with such cases is restricted to ensure they see enough cases to stay competent.

Since receiving the report the trust has moved all emergency abdominal surgery to Oxford so surgery is performed by a specialist gastrointestinal surgeon.

Oxford University Hospitals is also looking at how it can increase the use of day surgery and minimally invasive surgery at the Horton.